Album + Live
The 25th anniversary of this 'Standards Trio', as they're informally known, is fast approaching, set to arrive at the start of 2008. As the very nature of this supergroup is to interpret the classic repertoire of jazz and the old-fashioned popular Broadway song, it would be futile to dwell on the predictable nature of such endless probings of what is admittedly material with a bottomless potential for fresh re-reading. Besides, Jarrett and company have injected some measure of surprise with a joyous ragtime/stride outbreak, right at the bridging point of this 2CD live set.
Due to what must be an ongoing stockpile of quality recordings in their archive, the ECM label is increasingly releasing albums that have been laid down quite a few years previously, but in this case it appears to be Jarrett himself who has been hoarding this particular Montreux Jazz Festival performance from 2001. He speaks of biding his time, until the moment is right for release, believing this to be one of the trio's peak nights on the stage, particularly highlighting their driving, optimistic side. He's right, but there are also frequent stretches of ballad quietude, providing an attractive contrast of moods.
Loyal acolytes of Jarrett might have become accustomed to his constant vocalising whilst playing. He's still murmuring and even sometimes squawking along with the melodies, which can sometimes become very distracting. There are trusty numbers like "The Song Is You", "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry", and the title track, alongside furious chasers by Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Gerry Mulligan. It's the infectious appearance of Fats Waller that provides the highlight, though. Try a blindfold test. Who would guess that it's Jarrett, rippling through "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Ain't Misbehavin'"? Then, in a completely appropriate swivel, he's off into Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser", thoroughly sealing this set's hybrid nature with its most abstract interpretation.